Clinician Connect

Clinical network and program updates

17 Dec 2021 Reading time approximately

The Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI) acknowledges the hard work of clinicians and health managers across the health system in responding to COVID-19 in NSW.

We express our heartfelt thanks to everyone who supports the work of the ACI and the NSW Health system.

While many of our clinical networks mobilised to support the COVID-19 response this year, below are updates on the people involved and progress from some of the ACI’s clinical networks and institutes.

A revised guide for eye care has been published. Eye care is important for the effective clinical management of critically ill patients in intensive care. Regular eye care can prevent:

  • dryness
  • damage to the eye
  • complications
  • infection.

The guide provides recommendations for:

  • patient assessment
  • interventions
  • infection prevention
  • clinical governance.

Learn more and contact Intensive Care NSW.

A new video has been published to support awake proning in adult patients with COVID-19. It includes techniques for proning ventilation for pregnant, obese and frail patients.

Learn more and contact the Respiratory Network.

The 9th Rural Innovations Changing Healthcare (RICH) forum is coming up on 23 March 2022. This year’s theme is ‘Flexibility amidst the hoo-ha: reshaping rural health’ and the keynote address will be provided by Shane Fitzsimmons, Commissioner for Resilience NSW.

The event will showcase how rural sectors have sustained momentum amidst disruption; innovation through adaptation; capability though flexibility; and humour to balance adversity.

The deadline for abstracts and ePoster submissions is 4 February 2022.

COVID-safe hugging

Photo credit: COVID-safe hugging - Benjamin Philip, aged 10 years.

Learn more and contact the Rural Health Network.

Occupational therapy for people with spinal cord injury

A new digital resource is now available to support occupational therapists working outside of spinal cord injury units and in the community.

Clinicians will find information and guidance in the resource to:

  1. assess and manage the complex needs of a person with a spinal cord injury
  2. make recommendations for equipment and home modifications to assist them.

The guide is now available on the ACI website.

A model of care for improved access to specialist support

The NSW State Spinal Cord Injury Service (SSCIS) is developing a proposed ‘hub and spoke model of care’ to provide timely and appropriate access to specialist interdisciplinary care and support for people with spinal cord injury (SCI) across NSW.

The model of care will provide value-based care for people with SCI across the continuum of care and enhance outcomes at the patient and system level.

It will coordinate prehospital admission, emergency department and specialist care to enable triage to the right unit and care closer to home, where possible. Timely access to specialist interdisciplinary acute and rehabilitation care will be improved through:

  • direct admission to spinal cord injury units (SCIUs)
  • timely referral to SCIUs
  • support provided to non-specialist ‘spoke’ units by SCIU hubs.

Specialist guided care and usual care will be provided to patients triaged to management outside the hub and spoke system. This will lead to improved outcomes, quality of care and equity for patients.

The model of care is being developed by:

  1. consulting with stakeholders across ambulance services, major trauma centres and specialist spinal cord injury hospitals, to understand barriers people with SCI face and ensure they receive appropriate care
  2. conducting thematic analysis from the consultations
  3. drafting an evidence-based stratified model of care aiming to enhance outcomes at the patient, clinician and health system levels.

We are currently receiving final feedback on the model from stakeholders and exploring dynamic simulation modelling to analyse different scenarios, which will help determine the impact on patient flow and access to specialist care.

Learn more and contact the State Spinal Cord Injury Service.

The stream officially launched the My rehab, my journey – Gadjigadji website and resources in December, with support from ACI’s Chronic Care for Aboriginal People team. The resources were developed in partnership with Aboriginal clinicians and community.

Aboriginal people who have a long stay in hospital following trauma, or a medical episode, face unique challenges. The My rehab, my journey – Gadjigadji website provides information and practical resources to help clinicians and health staff create a culturally safe environment for Aboriginal people.

The resources can be used by rehabilitation services and in other areas of healthcare.

Services that have trialled the resources report their communication and relationships with Aboriginal patients have improved through important activities, such as yarning and using outdoor spaces. These types of individual or service-wide changes can help Aboriginal people stay engaged with health services, and ultimately improve a person’s experience and health outcomes.

How to get started

Explore the resources on the My rehab, my journey – Gadjigadji website.

Connectivity trial in palliative care

Specialist palliative care services are taking part in a six-month connectivity device trial, starting in December 2021. The services include:

  • Central Coast Local Health District (LHD)
  • Illawarra Shoalhaven LHD
  • Murrumbidgee LHD
  • Southern NSW LHD
  • St Vincent’s Health Network
  • Western NSW LHD.

Clinicians will be provided with portable connectivity devices, Netgear Nighthawks, to enable flexible delivery of end-of-life and palliative care in the community. The Netgear Nighthawk is a mobile router commonly used for business travel. It has fast data speeds, high signal strengths and long battery life.

The trial will investigate whether use of the devices will result in:

  • increased number of successful connections to myVirtualCare outside of NSW Health facilities
  • improved patient and clinician experience of myVirtualCare.

Transition support in Southern NSW

The ACI and Southern NSW Local Health District (SNSWLHD) recently identified an opportunity to provide targeted virtual care transition support to the district.

We worked closely with the SNSWLHD Telehealth Manager, Chin Weerakkody, to curate a training program tailored to specific needs in the region. ACI teams then worked with a variety of SNSWLHD clinical teams to deliver face-to-face myVirtualCare training. More than 160 staff received training across:

  • Bega
  • Moruya
  • Yass
  • Queanbeyan
  • Goulburn
  • Canberra
  • Cooma.

ACI staff enjoyed engaging with clinicians and other virtual care users on the ground. This grassroots level engagement also helped the team better understand the various ways virtual care is being used across the health system.

Feedback from attendees said the hands-on approach the training took was beneficial, particularly the opportunity to walk through processes that had been demonstrated in the support videos.

More feedback from both participants and trainers is being compiled to inform future training and support options for health staff.

Discover more about how the ACI has supported the uptake of virtual care.

Keep up to date on the latest activities across our networks, and get involved in key projects that help drive improvements in healthcare.

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